Dexter Community Schools Superintendent, Dr. Chris Timmis, has responded to public concerns raised at the Oct. 30 Board of Education (BOE) meeting regarding the planning of the new elementary school.
In earlier articles, We Love Dexter published transcripts of the concerns raised and the Board’s response.
In an email response to a request from We Love Dexter for more information about the planning process involved in the new facilities, Dr. Timmis shared the following:
“We have a timeline that has been reviewed on multiple occasions with the board regarding the construction of the new elementary. The goal is to have the building completed by December of 2018. We are building a twin of Cornerstone (Elementary School), which is what we’ve said since the bond work started, on the campus. Footings must be in before the ground freezes, hence the groundwork package on Monday’s (Oct. 30’s) agenda. We’ve met with Cornerstone and Bates families regarding the construction plan and they are aware of the upcoming changes.”
The concerns raised at the Oct. 30 BOE meeting were singularly about the athletic fields and facilities to which Dr. Timmis acknowledged there had been some changes since the initial conception.
“When we publicly talked about the bond, held the board workshop on the bond and applied for the bond to Treasury, we planned to build two grass fields, one turf field, and four baseball fields all at the high school to replace the fields where the building was planned to go. This is no longer the plan but shows the initial thinking.” (emphasis Dr. Timmis)
In regards to baseball fields, the new plan leaves two of the baseball fields behind Mill Creek and create two more at Creekside. The plan was worked out only days before the Oct. 30 meeting and plans will be available soon. This change was made to reduce the number of trees that would have been cut down under the original plan. This change was the result of feedback from the community at public meetings.
The initial plan for soccer fields (see drawing above) of one artificial turf and two grass soccer fields has been changed to two artificial turf soccer fields with lights for extended play. Soccer fields are the fields with the largest dimensions and other sports such as field hockey, lacrosse, rugby, and football can be played within the dimensions making these fields “multi-multi-use” as Board member Dick Lundy describes it.
The new turf is scheduled to be completed by August 1st, so all teams will have field access by fall.
One of the main concerns raised at the Oct. 30 Board meeting was the lack of inclusion and transparency by the Board to the community in this project.
A quick glance at Dexter Community Schools shows a number of community bond forums, facility meetings and the twice-monthly BOE meetings. It takes a little more digging into the BOE agendas to find when the new elementary was discussed – almost every meeting since Fall 2016.
In the Board’s response to concerns raised during public participation, they readily acknowledged the challenge of drawing people into the meetings where the new school has been discussed, but that doesn’t mean the planning has been done in a vacuum either. Superintendent Timmis says,
“We’ve spoken with many of our coaches who have significant changes happening to their fields and several community groups who use the fields. (Athletic Director) Mike Bavineau and I are working on a day (this) week to meet with the varsity head coaches for all of the sports (who use fields) to talk about fields.”
There is an informational meeting tonight, Nov 6 @ 7 pm, in Mill Creek’s cafeteria for all those interested in hearing the latest updates on the new elementary school project.
Below is the final campus layout.